Conan Kickstarter’s Baal-Pteor

Today we have a model from the Conan Kickstarter once again. The model is of a Conan character called Baal Pteor, or on the box, Baal-pteor. (I keep thinking of him as Baal Predator. I wonder if that’s a subtle pun on GW’s part?) He was a paid add-on from the Conan Kickstarter, and cost me ten bucks.

Kickstarter text: “The Strangler” as he is known is a cold blooded murderer. A new leader minion, he comes with his own scenario as well as guidelines for integrating him into others.

I picked this model out of a stack of boxed add-ons to paint entirely because of his appearance – basically a buff dude with a loincloth, bracelets and sandals. Or to put it another way – a simple model to paint as almost the entire thing consists of flesh tones, followed be a chance to discard the giant box that a single tiny model and a couple of cards came packaged in. Now, I pretty much know nothing about Conan. I’ve never read Howard’s novels or stories, and my total experience pretty much amounts to the two Arnie films and the single 2011 film that shares a name with Arnie’s original, and very little else.

So I used the box art as my rough guide to painting. Once I had pretty much finished the flesh, though I went with shaved bald rather than short stubble for the head, I got online to work out what colour(s) to paint his accoutrements. I also stopped to find out who the hell this guy is. Mostly since I wanted to note whether he was a player hero or an “Overlord”-controlled hero.

Alongside my only other painted Conan models. Well, the wolf is one of ten, but you get the idea.

And then I find that he’s “a Kosalan strangler of Yota-pong” who is described as “a black man from the lands of Kush“. Uh. Huh. So where or what is Kush or Kosalan? Wikipedia: Kingdom of Kosala was an ancient Indian kingdom, corresponding roughly in area with the region of Awadh in present-day Uttar Pradesh. Oh, right. Ok, where is that? North-Eastern India. So… I guess from the regional and physical descriptions given, Baal Pteor should be panted as a darker-skinned Indian. I guess it then makes perfect sense that the artwork shows a character that’s clearly European. I’ve heard that the developers were careful to reinterpret various Howard characters so as to appear less racist (though sexism was apparently not a huge problem), though I’m not sure how “giant dude who is stronger than Conan and fights him” is inherently racist regardless of what ethnicity giant dude happens to be. I’m kinda ambivalent to the whole series of arguments either way, but I’d personally rather have painted the character as he’s “supposed” to look. Still, the flesh is all done, and I’m not repainting him now.

Go home, Baal. You’re drunk!

He’s got a bit of a lean to him as well, that I only really noticed once I had cleaned, primed and base coated him. In person it varies between looking like a lean and like part of a swaggering gait. otherwise, I feel that he looks pretty decent, all things considered. I’m happy with the flesh tones and musculature, though he would have been a cool figure to paint with dark skin as well (Bobby Lashley, anyone?) Less happy with how the eyes came out, but as you can see via the Marine comparison pic here, he’s much more truescale than GW figures, and a bit of a weird looking pinhead to boot! Then again, a bit of eyeliner fits in well enough with his pretty coin-fringed loincloth and fabulous bracelets, so who’s to say?

26 thoughts on “Conan Kickstarter’s Baal-Pteor

  1. Huh. I actually saw that mini pop up recently while googling for some minis. My impression was that he was much bigger than that. Too bad on the misleading image. I think you’re right in that he would’ve looked cooler with dark skin. Maybe the racism is that the character is dark skinned, and a bad guy? No clue.

    At any rate, congrats on getting another one done. He looks very cool next to that tiger and the skin turned out pretty nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, that’s what I mean – being over-sensitive about having a black bad guy. I know that they changed the Khitai and Picts for similar (and in those cases, reasonable reasons.

      Thanks. I also picked out a group of five and a couple of monsters to work on at the same time, so once I get a few other models out of the way, I’ll be able to concentrate on a few more Conan models.

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  2. Nice mini! I just can’t do figures with lots of flesh, so I’m impressed! By coincidence, I’m currently working my way through the “Savage Sword Of Conan” collection of graphic novels on my Kindle, which are collected volumes of the black and white graphic novels published in the 70s (they were “comics” to me then)!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ohhh, the magazine ones? I started trying to read the Marvel Conan comics, but the reproduction job by Dark Horse was terrible (I’m a stickler sometimes). I’m hoping if the license moves over to Marvel with the Disney acquisition, there will be a better reprint down the road.

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      • Yep, they’re the ones! The Kindle compilations have over 500 pages in each from what I’ve seen and have been around 8 GBP each. There appear to be about 22-ish volumes (that’s the bit I haven’t told my wife yet) and it would be nice to see them in a modern colour format, but I’m quite enjoying the nostalgia!

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    • Ah yeah. I remember seeing the various Conan comics in passing, but never read them. I was more interested in the Marvel stuff, as well as things like Dredd (and later, much of DC’s Vertigo line).

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  3. Nice work! Good job of using the few non-flesh elements to contrast nicely and keep the whole model from just sort of blending into one mid-toned mash with no real focal points.

    Robert Howard’s original Conan stories have some real gems in there. As well as a number more that are pretty good, but require overlooking substantial racist or sexist chunks. But Beyond the Black River, The Hour of the Dragon, The Black Stranger, The Phoenix on the Sword, The God in the Bowl, Rogues in the House, The Tower of the Elephant, and The Frost-Giant’s Daughter are all worth reading.

    I suspect in the case of Baal-Pteor, the racist element had mostly to do with past visual depictions of the character being done with heavily caricatured features, as well as Shadows in Zamboula generally having a lot of racist elements. Still no reason for the Kickstarter not to have given him more reasonable black* features and a dark-skinned paintjob. Also a bigger head. Seriously, I know there is a tendency to over-scale the heads on minis, but this is a ridiculous reversal of that. It distracts substantially from the rest of the model.

    *Tho he is culturally a Kosalan devotee of Hanuman, genetically he’s from Kush, which was south of Egypt (modern Sudan), so he would be a black dude.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the list, Alexis. I bought the whole REH collection from Amazon as some form of ebook (maybe kindle version? not sure) for like a dollar a few years ago, but they haven’t done anything besides sit on my HDD.
      Given that Conan seems to spend a substantial amount of time rampaging around pre-Africa, I’d think it entirely makes sense for a bunch of his allies and foes alike to be both North African/Arabic and Sub-Saharan African in appearance. I guess I’ll have to look up who the various models are supposed to be before I paint them from here on in, rather than simply trusting the artwork.

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      • Yeah, he spends a lot of time in Africa, India, and the Middle East. But he does also have a bunch of stories in Europe as well. Fitting, really, since his motivation is generally a mix of curiosity and boredom. He just wants to see all the cool stuff there is in the world.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Very cool mate. Yeah, he would’ve looked great with dark skin… I can’t see why the developers would’ve shied away from that on the box art, but such is life I suppose. Either way, your paint job is spot on mate – he looks great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mark. Yeah, there’s so much stuff competing for time these days, and it just seems to get worse. I don’t think I’ll ever get to reading (m)any Conan stories, let alone the comics!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I could try, but he’s finished, I don’t really know (or care about) the character, it looks decently good as-is, is one of (too many) boardgame figures, and there’s a good chance I’d fuck it all up.
      So good enough for me. 😉

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        • Some artistic licence does keep stuff fresh, no real need to follow the books. I wonder why they made his head so small, normally that is a Reaper thing to do with the beefy minis like Goldar.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Well on balance I’d prefer to make named characters resemble how they are supposed to look, but given my almost total lack of Conan knowledge and how minor this character (probably) is, I’ll give myself a pass this time and stick with the box art complexion. No idea why he’s such a pinhead, though. Maybe it represents him bulking up his body but not his mind?

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